Thunderhead IPA | Pyramid Breweries, Inc.

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Thunderhead IPAThunderhead IPA

Brewed by:
Pyramid Breweries, Inc.
Washington, United States

Style: American IPA

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.70%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
A golden nectar with a striking floral aroma, Thunderhead holds a harmonious balance between its bold hop bitterness and subtle malt background.

Added by Jason on 09-16-2001

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Reviews: 437 | Ratings: 683
Photo of TheMarkE
3.06/5  rDev -10%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Lots of malt and lots of citrus hops, yet it still manages to come out tasting so-so. Perhaps it’s the type of hops, but it’s just not well balanced. I think they used the “let’s through stuff in there and see what happens” approach.

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Photo of matjack85
4.19/5  rDev +23.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I found this single 12oz brown bottle at the Binny's store in Bloomingdale, IL, so I made it part of my build-your-own six pack for $9.99. No freshness date.

The beer poured a slightly hazed medium gold color with a 1-finger white head that lasted a few minutes, but didn't leave much lacing.

It has both a fruity and a hoppy smell. I get pineapple juice more than anything else with the hops being both floral and citrusy.

Surprisingly strong caramel malt backbone that stands up to the really hoppy bitterness. Nice mix of pine and orange peel bitterness gets it a respectable 67 IBU rating. Their website says they use 4 different malts in here, but it is the sweet caramel malt that dominates.

Medium bodied with a smooth, almost creamy mouthfeel to go along with lively carbonation.

This is a really good IPA with lots of hoppiness, good balance, and well hidden 6.7% alcohol. I'll have to go back to Binny's and see if they have any more on the shelf.

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Photo of smcolw
3.64/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Moderate head with excellent staying power. Lots of fine bubbles on the glass and a bit of ring lace. Golden color with a bit of cloudiness.

More malty than hoppy. Strong caramel aroma with little sweetness. Based on the smell, I wouldn't guess this to be an IPA at all--nearly no hop at all.

The taste is a reverse of the smell. Lots of bitterness up front. It intensifies in the swallow and leaves a strong, lasting aftertaste. The malt is quite subdued, although the body is reasonably full. The carbonation is elevated.

If you can get beyond the upside down smell, this is a decent IPA.

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Photo of TheBrewo
2.84/5  rDev -16.5%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

We pour brew of pumpkin orange. It holds a two finger head of whitish bubbles that looks like freshly fallen snow. This retains with excellence, leaving sheets and rings of lacing down the glass. There is a moderate chill haze, with infinitely small flecks of sediment suspended about. Carbonation appears light. The aroma is of adjuncty and chalky grain. There are hints of vanilla bean metallics, and light bubblegum esters. Hops are far off, with light strawberry fruitiness and mild citric acidity. Our first impression is that while there is bitterness, the grain is muddy and cheap. The flavoring opens with bitterness of lemony hops, and huge metallic bite. The latter erases everything through the middle, where echoes of coin and dirty adjuncts bounce around the palate, with little to no cohesion. The hops continue, with cheap citrics and soaps, adding further to the bitterness. We finish on notes of basement mustiness mixed with more lemon and soap of hops. The grain continues, with light herbal qualities, the faintest caramel sugars, and stark adjuncts. The aftertaste breathes of coin and tin foil, light fusel booze with that black pepper bitterness, fermented apples, and general musk and adjuncts. The body is medium, and the carbonation is medium. There is nice slurp, sip, glug, cream, and froth. There is an initial coating to the mouth, with big froth. This drips away, leaving a metallic astringency down the tongue and palate. The abv is appropriate, and the beer drinks fine.

Overall, what we liked best about this brew was the soft, creamy mouthfeel. There is great slurp and froth due, in part, to the nicely retained bubbly head of foam. The aroma and taste, however, were excessively adjuncty, making the beer seem cheap and quick on multiples levels.

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Photo of TheSixthRing
3.75/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance - Pours a hazy, light golden orange with a white, finger width head. Decent retention. Lace is spotty with decent stick.

Smell - Aroma consists of floral hops, hints of citrus, and a bready malt presence.

Taste - Starts with bready malt character, then a subtle hop bitterness creeps in; more floral, but with notes of citrus and pine. finishes with fair balance, with a touch of orange and orange pith providing a bittersweet finish.

Mouthfeel - Light to medium body with average carbonation. Fairly drinkable with decent smoothness.

Overall - One of Pyramid's better offerings. Shows decent complexity, while also being entirely drinkable. One of the few beers from Pyramid I'd consider buying a handful of times a year.

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Photo of PicoPapa
3.2/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12oz bottle. Pours a sem translucent brownish orange with almost no head. Minimal lacing. Aroma is slightly floral with some sour citrus, malts, and bread. The flavor is orange peel up front followed by the malts. Floral near the end. Hints of caramel. Very little bitterness. Mouthfeel is watery and thin. Overall, its not bad but its a pretty pedestrian IPA.

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Photo of jlindros
3.17/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Screw cap bah, pours a fluffy 1 finger head fades at med pace with light lacing, hazy dark reddish orange color lots of sediment.

Nose starts with malts, big malts with caramel, reddish sweet malts, candy, toffee, light earthy candy citrus light fruity hops.

Taste is sweet candy, toffee, caramel, light toasty reddish malt, light candied fruit hops, hint earthy and citrus bit barely. More like bitter red or amber ale not really ipa. Finish is fairly bitter, some spicy earthy hops, more candy toffee malts lingering.

Mouth is med bodied, decent carb.

Overall meh, again more like heavy hopped red ale than ipa, way too much malt, hops are more bittering than flavor, and not the best profile.

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Photo of yesyouam
3.94/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pyramid Thunderhead IPA is a hazy, sparkling, deep golden ale with a smooth, dense, off white head that has excellent retention and lacing. It has a pine resin aroma with a touch of citrus peel. It has a very smooth and soft medium body with a dry finish that leaves the mouth a little gritty. The flavor is simple and well balanced with a smooth biscuity malt and a healthy piny bitterness. It has a long, bitter grapefruit peel finish. This is a nice, drinkable West Coast IPA that's nice and bitter, but not super strong.

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Photo of mnrider
3.08/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Twist off. Freshness date printed on label

A: Pours a clear light amber. Plenty of carbonation with a large white head.
It eventually settles down to a coaster thin layer.

S: Sweet, fruity malts and mild floral hops. Average.

T/M: Floral hops that are a little over powered by the malts. Still well balanced
though. Goes down smooth and creamy with a good carbonation feel.
The aftertaste is clean and the 6.7 ABV is really never noticeable.

O: An average IPA. The taste brings it down a little as the hops are just not there
for me. It is easy to drink which helps. But still nothing too special.


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Photo of cbutova
2.24/5  rDev -34.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Just noticed this one along with some other Pyramid brews. Easily worth a review at it's low price.

A- Poured into a pint glass with a slightly hazy, golden-light orange body. A big, bubbly white head forms to about three fingers and has decent retention. A frothy ring around the top of the beer leaves moderately thick lace patches.

S- Floral and herbal notes make up the hop bill. The rest of the beer is a base of apple, light caramel and bread. Really have to stress to pick up the aroma after just a few sips.

T- Mostly hoppy. Pine, floral, herbal, citrus and grassy hints make up a hop bill that doesn't really do much to satisfy with so many good IPAs out there. An apple/light fruit note seems to build with time taking away from the hops. Some caramel and slight buttery hints as well.

MF- SIlky lower end carbonation for the style with a creamy overall body. Bitterness isn't as clean as other IPAs, just feels a tad harsh for some reason.

Started out decent but it seemed like flavor score just kept going down. The flavors present just don't seem to meld all that well and drink as smoothly as most other IPAs on the market. Jumbled.

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Photo of mxchap
1.79/5  rDev -47.4%
look: 1.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

Let me start by saying that most beers I have had from Pyramid are at least passable.
This IPA, however, was terrible. Will be trying another soon (perhaps on tap to ensure freshness)
to make sure this one wasn't rotten.

Appearance: golden amber with a short, but dense head. Somewhat opaque.

Aroma: Carmel malt and earthy hops. Specialty grains definitely stick out.

Flavor: slightly sour, noticeable alcohol and metallic flavors. Off flavors mask the malt and hops substantially.

Mouthfeel: alcohol very noticeable, carbonation okay.

Overall: Not very drinkable, and not per the style. First pour-out in a while.

Hoping the next one is better.

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Photo of vkv822
2.19/5  rDev -35.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

12oz : tulip

Burnt-orange with a foamy off white head.

Mild fruity, floral hops, breaded malt backing.

More faint floral, lightly citric hops with a malty bread backbone.

Medium body, low-medium carbonation.

Not a bad beer, but really a bit bland, especially for the style. Could probably pass as an average American pale ale, but not IPA.

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Photo of scootpolute
2.75/5  rDev -19.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

1 Pint, 6 FL OZ. bottle into tulip glass.

A - Pours golden-amber, with a nice white head...- some good lacing.

S - Malts and Hops and lots of sweet citrus - some orange & grapefruit tones...

T - HUGE malt flavor and great hop kick at the top, followed by some citrus, then ending with a bit of pine-like spices...with the warmth from the alcohol...

M - Carbination is good...The heavy malts with a fair amount of hops puts this one on the heavier side of medium...

O - This one is OK...The price is right ($2.99 for a bomber for crying out loud!)...I don't think I'll be going back for another, but worth three bucks...Chasin' Cheers :~)

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Photo of ryan1788a5
3.56/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

12oz bottle poured into a pint glass.

A: Pours a crystal clear golden/amber color with cascading bubbles. The head is large and impressive. Very creamy and fluffy. It resembles a pillow atop the beer. Retention is excellent. Thin but dense and sticky rings of lacing cling to the glass.

S: Hop scents are grassy and floral with melon rind and slight tropical fruits too. Distinct flash of bubblegum. Hop aromas are balanced by equally present malt scents of grain, dough, and a touch of toast.

T: Leafy and floral hop tastes up front with some oily, green bitterness. That spike of bubblegum hits immediately after, just as it did in the nose. Mild pine needle and resin taste, perhaps a touch of mint. Very subtle hints of pineapple and tangerine play in the background. Malt character is prominent, with grainy and doughy tastes providing a solid backbone. Dries toward the end and finishes with crackery and slightly toasty malt and a tame, oily bitterness.

M: Medium bodied. Very full and creamy/fluffy in the mouth. Scrubbing carbonation lifts it, making it seem lighter than it is and adding some crispness. Great mouthfeel.

O: A tame, simple IPA. Very balanced, and more like what you'd expect from the east coast rather than the Pacific northwest. Its shining points are its approachability and drinkability. It won't excite the veteran craft enthusiast, but it'll do in a pinch. It's a good stepping-stone beer for the novice. Reminds me a lot of Harpoon IPA.

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Photo of JRed
3.18/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours cloudy orange in body with white fluffy head that leaves lacing. Smells of citrus, bubblegum, some grass, and papaya. Hop overload with no direction: citrus with rind, bubblegum, grass, pine, bathroom cleaner, then bitterness sets in. Heavy in body with with medium carbonation. The look and aroma are nice but adding as many different types of hops possible to a brew doesn't add inches to your mash paddle.

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Photo of maximum12
2.1/5  rDev -38.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 1

Picked up this 12 oz. bottle in a mixed sixer recently (OK, actually, my wife did, but she's not home, so she'll never know, right?). Cryptic 'Best By' date of 7/21/12, but not sure how far that is from the bottling date, but it should be good, right? AmIright?

The pour is on the lighter orange/yellow curve of the IPA spectrum with serious carbonation. Nose is faint, I have to suck hard to get much, mild floral hops, mixed in with a bit of citrus & sweet malts. I think I sprained my nasal cavity.

Thunderhead gave me several different faces in the few seconds after the first sip - lololowza. First impression is of sticking one's tongue into a potpourri bowl, huge lavender & floral notes line the palate. That's chased quickly by a dose of caramel that clashed with the field of flowers something serious. An unpleasant twinge of tartness, almost acidic, intrudes in the middle, just before the bittering hoppiness finally arrives...except it's more like ground-up children's aspirin than anything else. Give it another go, but, no. Realistically, a couple ounces of this was more than enough.

There's something off about this beer & I can't quite put my finger on it, but the whole experience is rather unpleasant. The beer gets worse as it warms. This is a fail as an IPA & as a beer. Drain pour bad.

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Photo of beerthulhu
2.26/5  rDev -33.5%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

A: Translucent orange with a chalky white frothy head of one finger statue. Medium mid pace effervesce with a thin band of lace.

S: Fresh grass, oranges and ice berg lettuce. Very faint aroma wise. A solid example of a 2.0 unimpressed rating.

T: Some bitterness but harsh with sour dried lemon grind, pine and some sour orange peels occurring on the fade. Dry wheat, starchy flour hints.

M: doughy, medium based with a lazy carbonation lacking crispness and sharpeness.

O: Overall the nose is lackluster, the flavor is sour and off and not very tasty. Tastes like a macro hybrid of a wit /ipa. A perfectly good waste of bottle glass.

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Photo of MattyG85
3.83/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from 12 oz. bottle into a Sam Adams Perfect Pint glass.

Appearance: Pours a bright and somewhat cloudy golden orange with lots of bubbles and a big four finger white head with good retention. Leaves lots of creamy lacing on the glass.

Smell: Aroma has a rather subdued presence of floral and citrus hops. Big bready malt backing with lots of caramel and biscuit. Also some grainy wheat. Smells more like a malty pale ale than a IPA.

Taste: Like the smell leads, a very malt forward ale with lots of bready wheat grains, caramel, and biscuit. Subtle earthy hops with some light hints of citrus orange and grapefruit. Pretty lacking in hop bite, but the flavor that is here is nice and easily drinkable.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with a moderate amount of carbonation. Very crisp and smooth. Somewhat drying.

Overall: For an IPA, the hop profile is very understated. This is however a very crisp and enjoyable beer as a lighter summer option. Just think of it as more like an English Pale Ale.

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Photo of bubseymour
2.66/5  rDev -21.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

A= murky copper with 2 finger head that doesn't hold

s - says drink before 5/24/12 and its 5/18/12 so this one is pretty old and not very fresh smelling at all. Very malty and metalic smelling
like a english or scotch ale

T - tastes like a scotch ale and certainly not an American IPA Perhaps the older date changed this beer. Its ok to drink at best but not really very enjoyable at all

Mouthfeel - ok

Overall - this was a disappointing beer. Perhaps I'll try another one that is more fresh someday and edit this review.

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Photo of ExtraStout
3.5/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This is a beginners IPA. If you are a hop head in training this is a good place to start. This beer pours a nice deep copper and has an OK head. The smell is of deep thick hops, not sharp and crispy as a top notch IPA would be. However this beer is very drinkable and smooth as well as any great crossroads beer should be. I could drink tons of this however I think it is slightly better on tap, but a very drinkable IPA. However I think that on the hop scale it is only slightly hoppier than SNPA.

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Photo of thebrood1987
3.83/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I get some floral scents maybe some mint in there with some bready sweetness. You get the hop bite but its not that strong and then its followed by a liquid bread taste almost reminiscent of a cheaper lager but then finishing good with the citric bitter bite we all love in ipas.

The malts they use in this beer throw me off a bit cause I've tasted that same taste in cheaper macro beers. Not to say this beer is cheap or anything because it definitely has more taste then that I was just reminded of it slightly by I guess the barley they chose to use in this beer.

It drinks like a session IPA yet its 6.7 alcohol. Its not my favorite IPA but definitely a quality beer with some nice herbal and citrus flavors and bite from the hops they use.

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Photo of dbossman
3.41/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Light copper hue, bubbly; with a great foamy head--good retention; lacing is good too

S: Some floral and citrus hops but fairly subdued; also some bready malt undertones but all in all this is fairly subtle

T: Some hop bittering up front: grapefruit, pine, etc. and also some toasty breadiness with just a touch of astringency but fairly subtle--refreshing but simple

F: Medium body with oily and sticky mouth feel

O: An okay IPA but just rather simple and subtle; it's refreshing and I could drink a few but there are so many killer IPAs out

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Photo of jtierney89
1.3/5  rDev -61.8%
look: 1 | smell: 1 | taste: 1 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Pours a clear copper color with a sticky and fluffy white head. Floral and citric nose, nothing too overpowering.

Seems unbalanced, the malt kind of outweighs the hops a bit in my opinion with a lot of caramel coming through. Caramel throughout, floral and piney hops on the finish. Drying finish but with the caramel lingering. quick and concise but there's not much depth and a definite imbalance here. Slightly soapy finish. Not a drain pour but not having it again.

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Photo of Hojaminbag
3.11/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Thunderhead IPA has a light orange body with a finger or two of head on top of it. Good retention and lacing, as foams remains on my glass in rings and sheets.

The aroma is mostly citrus hops with a big dose of caramel behind it.

The flavor works out to be about the same as the aroma. Hops lead off, with a punch of pine and a good bit of grapefruit. This IPA is pretty bitter as well. The malt flavors are about as powerful as the hops, with a good bit of caramel and a little bit of a toasted malt flavor.

The body and carbonation are right about where they should be.

Thunderhead IPA is a pretty standard IPA that won't knock your socks off, but probably won't disappoint you either as long as it's fresh.

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Photo of lwillitz
3.93/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

22-oz bottle into Samuel Smith "Tulip" pint glass

A - nice appearance in the glass; slightly cloudy golden/orange body with just a few carbonation bubbles under two fingers of soft, light khaki foam; very nice trail of lace down the glass

S - floral hops and subdued grainy malt

T - dominant floral hops, strong presence of bready malt in the background; a bit more malty than a typical IPA, but a very nice balance in my opinion; dry, slightly warming finish

M - thick full body with medium carbonation, some astringency, smooth; alcohol warmth in the finish

O - Thunderhead looks and smells like a run-of-the-mill IPA. The taste, while malty for an IPA, is very good. The thick mouthfeel is excellent. If you prefer IPAs with a little malt, give this one a try.

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Thunderhead IPA from Pyramid Breweries, Inc.
3.4 out of 5 based on 683 ratings.
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